After His resurrection and before His ascension back to heaven, Jesus commissioned His apostles to go into all the world and preach the gospel. They were to make disciples from all the nations, baptizing them in the name of Jesus, and teaching them everything He had commanded. The Book of Acts records the apostles’ attempt to fulfill that great commission in the power of the Holy Spirit Who was given to them ten days after Jesus ascended back to the Father. The Spirit was sent to empower the apostles to be bold witnesses to Jesus Christ.
As we read the Book of Acts we observe some patterns in the ministry of the apostles. Though they were to take the gospel to the entire world, it was to be preached to the Jew first, and then to the Greek or Gentile (Acts 1:3, Rom. 1:16-17). It was Paul’s custom, though he was the apostle of the Gentiles, to preach in the Jewish synagogue after he entered a city (Acts 13:14, 14:1, 17:1-2). Though Paul preached the gospel to the Jew first, there is a pattern of Jewish unbelief and opposition in Acts. On two occasions when the Jews opposed Paul’s message, he announced his intention to preach the gospel to the Gentiles (13:42-46, 18:1-8). There is another very important pattern observed in the book of Acts which is summed up nicely in Paul’s ministry in Corinth (Acts 18:8). Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized. This clear pattern in the book of Acts indicates that baptism if for believers in Christ (Acts 2:41, 8:12-13, 9:18, 10:47, 16:14-15, 16:30-34, 19:1-6). Believer’s baptism is what was practiced by the apostles as they set out to obey Christ’s commission to them. They were to make disciples (believers) through the preaching of the gospel (Acts 14:21), and then baptize those disciples in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Mat.28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16). In the waters of baptism, a believer in Jesus Christ testifies to his faith in Christ, and of his union with Jesus in His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:1-6).